Almost a year after first reaching agreement with the brand's owner, Cerestar Food & Pharma Specialties Europe is to begin the pan-European distribution of trehalose, the multi-functional ingredient created by Japan's Hayashibara company, on 1 June.
Cargill, Cerestar's parent company, won the sole European distribution rights to Ascend brand trehalose back in July last year, adding to its existing agreements in North, South and Central America, where it is marketed by Cargill Health & FoodTechnologies.
Trehalose, found in mushrooms, honey, lobster and shrimp, is a naturally occurring non-reducing disaccharide composed of two glucose molecules linked by an a 1-1 bond.
The multi-functional sugar can be used in a range of food products, including bakery, sports drinks, dairy products, egg products, fruit products, soups and sauces, confectionery and chewing gum.
The ingredient is particularly appropriate for use in products which are frozen, dried or heated, as one of its major functional properties is that it stabilises protein function and structure, the company said.
One particular use is in the deep-freezing of fish: during freezing, protein cells in the fish can lose their structure, but injecting trehalose into the meat during the process helps to keep the protein cell walls stable, so little humidity is lost.
Mark Wastijn, marketing director for Cerestar Food & Pharma Specialties Europe, said: "This ingredient can be used in a variety of applications making it highly versatile. For example, as a bakery ingredient, C*Ascend protects cell structures and acts as a moisture barrier. This means it can be used to keep the texture of the baked part of the product in good condition even if it is used in conjunction with a filling ingredient.
"It is a great source of fuel as it is derived from a natural ingredient so it is ideal for lifestyle products designed for consumer who are always on the go who also care about what they are consuming."
C*Ascend is said to have a high glass transition temperature for a disaccharide, is non-browning, and will not hydrolyse at low pH or high temperatures. This results in more stable colours and flavours in foods to which it is added, the company said.
C*Ascend is also said to protect against protein denaturation during drying and freezing, resulting in improved protein functionality and stability. It can also modulate certain off flavours in foods such as bitterness. The ingredient's clean profile means no aftertaste, plus rapid onset of sweetness comparable to sucrose, according to Cargill-Cerestar.